Tjikuzu hints NPL comeback and coaching career
Windhoek – Like other countries in Southern Africa, and despite abundant talent, Namibia has not produced many footballers, who went on to have successful careers outside the borders.
However, Razundara Tjikuzu managed to clear the hurdle, and is regarded as the country’s greatest footballing export.
The former midfielder has played in major European leagues for many years when he was whisked away by Germany scouts where he joined the reserves side for the Bundesliga outfit – Werder Bremen at the age of 16.
In 1999, he was promoted to the senior team, and played in the German top flight until 2003. He went to play for Hansa Rostock, MSV Duisburg before he moved to the Turkish Super League where he featured for several teams including Çaykur Rizespor, Trabzonspor, İstanbul BB and Diyarbakırspor.
Tjikuzu earned 46 caps for the national team, the Brave Warriors and scored 11 goals for the country. The former midfielder has since returned home and currently contemplating about his next career move.
The Southern Times caught with the 36-year old who lamented that all is not over for him, as he is focussing on a coaching career and also rubbished widespread claims of bankruptcy.
“I could have been playing in Turkey to date, but because of the misunderstandings I had to come back home. In Turkey there is still outstanding salaries of mine that I probably have to write-off.
“I played for many years now and still have the energy to play for two or more years in Namibia. I don’t pity myself and I am not broke at all, othough my financial position is not the same as in the past.
“The fact that I do not play anymore and I am still in the process to find myself a new future career venture, I had to change my lifestyle. The great thing about life is that whatever we go through moulds us to become better, more responsible and mature,” he said.
“As far as my career is concerned, I am planing to go for a coaching course with the NFA (Namibia Football Association) in due course. I still want to play for another year or two for a local team whilst I complete the coaching course.
“I am also looking to start coaching the youngsters at schools, I have sent out some letters already and I am just waiting for their response. There is nothing more exciting to me than the buzz of the crowd, the smell of the stadium, players warming up and the overall result of achievement,” said Tjikuzu who was affectionately known as ‘Razi’ during his heydays.
He emphasised: “I have been playing professional football since I was 16 years old and have worked with the best of coaches and managers within Namibia and abroad, an opportunity every talented person is looking for and I feel I can be the bridge between that every player and a prospective European teams. We also ought to look at the Namibian sport strategy, we have the talent but we lack motivation, we lack opportunity.”
At the peak of his career, Tjikuzu was drawing as much as 60 000 Euros which roughly translates to N$1 million in monthly earnings.
Unfortunately, he fell into the same trap like other African professional footballers who hit the hard times after retiring from the lucrative game in Europe and other major leagues.
Tjikuzu has dismissed the well-publicised allegations of financial indiscipline, of high-end spending, saying he does not regret how he lived his life before.
“I don’t think anything I did was wrong. After all I worked hard for my money, and I don’t see why helping a fellow player is wrong. I was in the limelight, I had to help them, because at some point in life, you will need them after all,” he said.
Nevertheless, Tjikuzu conceded that professional footballers lack financial discipline.
“About the money issue, I think financial literacy is important on how players spend their money, because that’s the culture in Europe,” he said.
He suggested that football governing bodies like the NFA can incorporate financial literacy into their programmes to assist players in the local leagues and ensure they do not fall into the same trap.